Best Routers for Security 2021

Expert picks to keep your network secure

What is the most secure router?

The most secure wireless router for your home network is one that makes it easy for you to take advantage of its security features. We recommend Google Nest Wifi because its automatic updates and simple, app-based controls streamline network management and keep your network safe and sound.

Best secure Wi-Fi routers

ModelSpeeds up toWi-Fi security protocolPriceGet it
Best overallGoogle Nest Wifi2,200 MbpsWPA2, WPA3$163.60View on Amazon
Best for a budgetTP-Link Archer A91,900 MbpsWPA3$69.99View on Amazon
Best for Wi-Fi 6ASUS RT-AX88U6,000 MbpsWEP, WPA, WPA2$299.99View on Amazon
Best for advanced securitySynology RT2600ac2,600 MbpsWPA3$199.99View on Amazon
Best for parental controlsGryphon Mesh WiFi Router3,000 MbpsWPA3$209.00View on Amazon
Best overall
ModelGoogle Nest Wifi
Speeds up to2,200 Mbps
Wi-Fi security protocolWPA2, WPA3
Price$163.60
Get itView on Amazon
Best for a budget
ModelTP-Link Archer A9
Speeds up to1,900 Mbps
Wi-Fi security protocolWPA3
Price$69.99
Get itView on Amazon
Best for Wi-Fi 6
ModelASUS RT-AX88U
Speeds up to6,000 Mbps
Wi-Fi security protocolWEP, WPA, WPA2
Price$299.99
Get itView on Amazon
Best for advanced security
ModelSynology RT2600ac
Speeds up to2,600 Mbps
Wi-Fi security protocolWPA3
Price$199.99
Get itView on Amazon
Best for parental controls
ModelGryphon Mesh WiFi Router
Speeds up to3,000 Mbps
Wi-Fi security protocolWPA3
Price$209.00
Get itView on Amazon

Your router handles every bit of data that passes through your internet connection—including passwords, messages, and payment information. Making sure that your router is secure is one of the most important ways to keep that information away from prying eyes.

Most modern routers have what it takes to keep your network safe and sound. Residential networks usually just need something with a firewall, software updates, and strong passwords. But our recommendations offer a little something extra in addition to great security—whether that’s stronger parental controls for a family, advanced security features to tinker with, or superfast speeds.

What to look for in a secure wireless router

Most router on the market today will have the tools you need to be able to secure your wireless network. But if you’re particularly focused on securing your home Wi-Fi, these are the features you should look for in a router:

  • WPA2 or WPA3 (preferable) security
  • Guest networks
  • VPN compatibility

For a deeper dive into security router must-haves, check out the specs and features section.

Google Nest Wifi Router: Best overall

Best overall

  • Max speed: Up to 2,200 Mbps
  • Coverage: 2,200 sq. ft. (expandable with additional points)
  • Ethernet ports: 1 LAN, 1 WAN
  • Security protocol: WPA2 and WPA3
  • Firewall: Yes
  • Automatic updates: Yes
  • Price: $163.60

Google Nest Wifi is an expandable mesh router system—that means you can add Nest Wifi devices to your network to increase your Wi-Fi range. Each Nest Wifi router covers up to 2,200 square feet, and Nest Wifi points add up to 1,600 square feet each. The points also act as smart speakers that connect to Google Assistant.

We like the Nest Wifi system because it’s so dang simple. Some routers make you jump through hoops to access their features, but Nest Wifi lets you set everything up in the Google Home app, where you can view all the devices on your network, prioritize certain connections, and set parental controls.

Pros

  • WPA2 and WPA3 security
  • Automatic firmware updates
  • User-friendly setup

Cons

  • No router-level VPN support

TP-Link Archer A9: Best for a budget

Best for a budget

  • Max speed: Up to 1,900 Mbps
  • Coverage: Up to 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Ethernet ports: 1 WAN, 4 LAN
  • Security protocol: WPA3
  • Firewall: Yes
  • Automatic updates: Yes
  • Price: $69.99

Many routers with the fastest speeds and the glitziest features cost hundreds of dollars. But, strictly speaking, most home networks perform just as well with a less expensive router like the Archer A9.

While it has lower max speeds than other routers on this list, the AC1900 speeds should still amply cover your Wi-Fi needs. It has a lot of the basic security features you need, including a firewall, guest networks, parental controls, and VPN compatibility. The TP-Link Tether app allows you to set up and monitor your network easily. So all around, this router keeps your network secure on a budget.

Pros

  • Inexpensive price
  • App for setup and management
  • OpenVPN and PPTP VPN server compatibility

Cons

  • Lower max speeds

ASUS RT-AX88U: Best for Wi-Fi 6

Best for Wi-Fi 6

  • Max speed: Up to 6,000 Mbps
  • Coverage: Not specified, listed as suitable for “Very large homes”
  • Ethernet ports: 1 WAN, 8 LAN
  • Security protocol: WPA and WPA2
  • Firewall: Yes
  • Automatic updates: Yes
  • Price: $299.99

If you want to future-proof your home network for the next several years and prep for the fastest internet speeds, Wi-Fi 6 (the newest Wi-Fi standard), is the way to go. The ASUS RT-AX88U is a great security-focused Wi-Fi 6 router with wireless speeds up to 6,000 Mbps, and it includes a subscription to AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro.

AiProtection provides an advanced firewall, automatic software updates, URL-level content filtering, detection and protection of malware-infected devices, and malicious site blocking.

Many devices that include extra security software charge for the subscription after a year or two, but you get AiProtection Pro for as long as you have your ASUS router.

Pros

  • Lifetime subscription to AiProtection
  • Max speeds up to 6,000 Mbps

Cons

  • High price

Synology RT2600ac: Best for advanced security

Best for advanced security

  • Max speed: Up to 2,600 Mbps
  • Coverage: Up to 3,000 sq. ft.
  • Ethernet ports: 1 WAN, 4 LAN (one LAN port can optionally be used as a WAN port)
  • Security protocol: WPA3
  • Firewall: Yes
  • Automatic updates: Yes
  • Price: $199.99

The Synology RT2600ac router has a robust feature set that allows tech-savvy users to customize their network. While the fancier features and applications may be a bit much for most people, the RT2600ac is a good choice if you want complete control over your network security.

What sets the Synology router apart from others is its firmware. Many routers have basic firmware management pages or apps, but Synology’s is pretty complex (in a good way). You can get to basic controls (like guest networks and parental controls) via the DS Router app, but accessing the online interface via a web browser lets you get deep into customization.

The Package Center in the online interface has several included packages or apps like the VPN package or Intrusion Prevention package to add extra layers of security to your network.

Pros

  • Robust Synology Router Management firmware
  • Free add-on applications via the Package Center

Cons

  • Involved setup that might be too advanced for some

Gryphon Mesh WiFi Router: Best for parental controls

Best for parental controls

  • Max speed: Up to 3,000 Mbps
  • Coverage: Up to 3,000 sq. ft.
  • Ethernet ports: 1 WAN, 3 LAN
  • Security protocol: WPA 3
  • Firewall: Yes
  • Automatic updates: Yes
  • Price: $209

The Gryphon Mesh wireless router is an expandable, multipoint system focused on parental controls and security. It’s a great router for families who want to moderate online activity or those who just want a supersecure mesh Wi-Fi system.

The main downside to this router is that many of its security features—like the daily security updates and IoT device scanning—are included only for the first year. After that, you have to pay $79 per year for a subscription to Advanced Internet Protection to keep those features.

Without the subscription, though, the Gryphon router still has powerful parental controls that allow you to monitor your kids’ online activity, set internet schedules for certain devices, and filter out inappropriate content. These features can all be set up and controlled through the Gryphon Connect app.

Pros

  • Advanced parental controls
  • Expandable mesh system for wider coverage
  • Daily security updates

Cons

  • Advanced Internet Protection subscription for only 1 yr.

Secure Wi-Fi router specs and features

There are certain things you need to look for in routers in general, like max speeds and the number of Ethernet ports. But if you want to make sure your network will be as safe as possible, be on the lookout for features that protect your privacy and controls that make those features easy to use and maintain.

Firewall

A firewall acts as a protective barrier between your network or computer and the internet. It basically catches certain types of internet traffic and blocks it from entering your network or spreading through it.

Most routers have a built-in firewall to help protect your network from malicious attacks, but these usually come disabled by default. To turn it on, log in to your router’s online user interface, find the firewall or security settings, and activate it.

Admittedly, firewalls sometimes can cause inconveniences when you try to download files from the internet. You may need to disable your firewall for certain updates or for taking internet speed tests.

Pro tip: How to log in to your router

You have to log in to your router’s user interface to access your router’s security features and settings. To do that, you need to enter your router’s default IP address into a web browser and log in using your router’s admin credentials. For a step-by-step walkthrough of the process, check out our guide to logging in to your router.

Wireless security protocol

The wireless security protocols WEP, WPA, WPA2, and WPA3 prevent unwanted connections from joining your Wi-Fi network and encrypt data that is transmitted via wireless networks. All of these protocols are a little different, and when looking for a secure router, you want to make sure that it at least has WPA2. 

  • WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is the oldest and weakest wireless security protocol. You don’t want to rely on it because it has known vulnerabilities.
  • WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is also outdated but often used with WPA2.
  • WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2) uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is also used for government information security.
  • WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 3) is the latest wireless security standard, and it is not yet widely used. But snagging a router with WPA3 means you’ll stay protected in the long run.

Easy controls

Some routers have difficult-to-access user interfaces, while others can be managed easily via smartphone apps. So many routers have apps these days, so it’s difficult to recommend going with one that doesn’t.

Easy security and management controls makes it much more likely that you’ll remember to stay on top of firmware updates and notice when something on your network seems fishy. They also simplify things like setting up guest networks, changing network passwords, and monitoring your parental controls.

Automatic updates

Find a router that updates automatically—like Nest Wifi. That way you don’t have to worry about remembering to keep your router’s firmware up to date.

Keeping your router’s software in tip-top shape is important because each update improves security measures for your network and responds to any known vulnerabilities. A router with outdated firmware can fall prey to a type of attack or malware that has already been fixed in a recent update.

Guest networks

Guest networks are perfect for situations where you don’t want to hand over the password to your main Wi-Fi network to a visitor.

Maintaining a guest network is good for securing your main network against the comings and goings of different devices. You don’t know where your visitors’ devices have been or if they may be infected with malware that could potentially spread throughout your network. Isolating unknown factors onto a guest network is a good practice.

You can also often control the number of devices or amount of bandwidth a guest network can support. That way you don’t lose all your internet speed to your neighbor kid’s Fortnite habit.

Our verdict

Most households simply need a firewall, strong passwords, and regular updates to maintain a secure network. Google Nest Wifi is our recommendation for a secure router because it makes monitoring your network and keeping it up to date easy.

Router security FAQ

What is the most secure modem?

Cable modems that use current DOCSIS standards (3.0 or 3.1) are the most secure for data traveling between the modem and your ISP. You still want to use a router between your modem and the rest of your home network, however.

Your ISP also most likely has a limited list of which modems work with its service, so the best thing to do is to choose a modem off that list and add extra security for your home network with a secure router.

What is a firewall router?

A firewall router is a router that can function as a layer of security between your home network and the rest of the internet.

Many routers have built-in firewalls that are disabled by default. You can enable your router’s firewall (if it has one) in your router’s user interface.

What is the best type of security for a router?

The current standard for Wi-Fi security is WPA2, but the newer WPA3 protocol is starting to appear in consumer devices and is generally more secure.

If you want to secure your router, the best thing to do is to make sure you update your router’s firmware, enable its firewall, and set strong passwords.

Author -

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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